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How this single mum got back on her feet financially
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By MyBudget Editor

When single mum Jenni came to MyBudget for help, she was at rock bottom. Her six-month-old daughter Charlotte had intense medical needs, which had forced Jenni to give up her job. She was out of work, with no partner support, caring for a sick baby and living between the homes of friends. This is how she got back on her feet.

“I had to resign from my job.”

Nobody gets into money trouble on purpose and Jenni is no exception. She was 34, with a good job, nice home and manageable mortgage. In her own words, Jenni was “a responsible person.”

Things started to go downhill financially for Jenni towards the end of her pregnancy. Due to medical complications, Jenni used up her annual leave and sick days before the baby was born. Then, when daughter Charlotte did arrive, she spent weeks in neonatal intensive care.

In the months that followed, Jenni realised that normal child care wasn’t going to be an option for Charlotte. She was faced with the reality that going back to work wasn’t going to be possible for a while. “I knew that I was good with budgeting, with money, but things were spiralling,” Jenni explains. “I had all these bills to pay and living costs…I tried to negotiate to work part-time, but they only had full-time work to offer me.”

“Even today I hate the sound of my phone ringing.”

Jenni applied for welfare support, but a bunch of red tape meant she waited nearly four months before getting a payment. In the meantime, she was living off her credit card. 

She tried to sell her home with no success. Then, with the hope that rental income would help to cover her mortgage payments, Jenni moved out of her home so that tenants could move in. By this time, however, Jenni was chronically short of cash and her home loan payments were well behind.

Bills, late fees and loan interest were piling up and, in addition to the stress of caring for a sick baby, Jenni was constantly being hounded for money. “It's the most awful thing,” says Jenni. “Even today, I hate the sound of my phone ringing.”

“When you’re a responsible person and you're trying your best to make sure that the money owed to people is being paid, but nothing you do is good enough, and they keep ringing to hassle you, again and again—it’s just soul destroying,” Jenni reflects. “The biggest problem was not that they were calling, but that I didn't even know what I could offer, what I could afford.”

“You’ve come to the right place.”

Jenni was recommended to a number of financial counsellors. “I went and saw quite a few,” she says. “Mostly they asked ‘How did you even get to this point? What have you been doing?’ I think they thought I had a gambling issue or a drug problem or something.”

Then Jenni saw an ad for MyBudget on television. By this time, her bank was talking about foreclosing on her mortgage and a free consultation was all Jenni could afford. “I was about to lose everything I'd worked my whole life for. People had already come to repossess my car twice,” says Jenni.

She met with MyBudget money coach Tom. “He was really lovely,” Jenni remembers. “I felt like I needed to explain the situation to him—like, this is not how I run my life. This is not how I do things. It's just ended up this way. And he said that we all need help once in a while and you've come to the right place.”

“An incredible weight was lifted.”

Tom went through Jenni’s finances in detail with her over the next couple of hours and they talked through her options. It was the first time she felt a glimmer of hope.

“He [Tom] said ‘It’s a mess and it's going to be difficult, but I think we can do it.’ And he immediately started working out strategies to help the situation. He said ‘First things first, don't worry—let's make a list of people that need to be contacted and we’ll contact everyone for you. They won't call you anymore, they'll call us.’”

“We sat there for quite a long time going through figures and working out how we could get it done. And that's exactly what I needed—was for someone to actually sit down and help me work out what I could afford and what we needed to offer each [creditor]. And the fact that MyBudget was willing to do it for me—it was just like an incredible weight was suddenly lifted.”

“Four years later and I’m in my own home, I drive a nice car, all of my bills are paid on time.”

Jenni’s budget was tight in the beginning. To help ease her cash flow problems, MyBudget made informal arrangements with the companies Jenni owed money.  Jenni’s budget showed exactly what was affordable and how her situation would improve as payments in arrears were caught up. She was also able to lean on support from the MyBudget team to rework her budget every time a new bill or expense popped up.

Eventually, Jenni and Charlotte moved back into their home. Charlotte’s health improved, which meant that Jenni could return to work. With Jenni working again, MyBudget Loans (a free benefit for MyBudget clients) was able to save Jenni more money by refinancing her other debts into her mortgage. 

These days, Charlotte is at kindy, doing dance and swimming lessons, and looking forward to starting school next year. Her medical issues are mostly behind her and Jenni’s already saving for Charlotte’s private school fees

Jenni smiles, “Count four years later and I’m in my own home, I drive a nice car, all of my bills are paid on time, my daughter is booked in for private schooling and I have savings. It all just works and MyBudget has given us real hope for our financial wellbeing into the future.”

You don’t need to tackle it on your own...

Parenting on your own is hard enough, let alone staying on top of your finances. MyBudget can relieve the time, stress and ‘what ifs’ of money management. A free budget consultation costs nothing and the customised budget we create is yours to keep.

Call 1300 300 922 to book your free budget consultation or enquire online. Sign up before 30 September 2020 and pay ZERO joining fee (conditions apply).


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